Following my previous post on Chimamanda Adichie, I thought I’d share this interview held just after she had released Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006. If you haven’t purchased any of her books, Amazon still has plenty! Here’s the interview, thanks for reading (and listening)!
When I grow up I want to be like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now I haven’t met Chimamanda but I have read her books and recently heard her speak at a graduation ceremony, thanks to YouTube. Chimamanda has a beautiful, clear voice with an accent that will make you proud to be a native of wherever it is you hail from. But that is not the main reason I want to be like her. Chimamanda is my ideal leading lady because she is an amazing writer. If you have never read any of her books, I beg you to purchase them and read them.
The first one I read is called Purple Hibiscus. It is hard to believe Purple Hibiscus was written when she was just 27 years old. The way she captures the characters’ emotions as well as dealing with both childlike and grown up issues is amazing. I could not put Purple Hibiscus down. And when I finally did, I was left wanting more. I do not exaggerate when I say I had matured by a few years by the time I was done.
Then she went on to write Half of a Yellow Sun. Up until the time I read this gem of a book, all I knew about the Nigerian civil war was that the Yorubas fled when they should have joined up with the Igbos. I am still baffled by how Chimamanda was able to garner the exact atmosphere and describe the war and the lives of her characters in such explicit details as though she was physically present in every scene, and she was every character. I’m not simply referring to her descriptive abilities and use of language but also to the detail. Like on Ugwu’s journey to his new master’s home:
Ugwu did not believe that anybody, not even this master he was going to live with, ate meat every day. He did not disagree with his aunty, though, because he was too choked with expectation, too busy imagining his new life away from the village……His aunty walked faster, her slippers making slap-slap sounds that echoed in the silent street“. At the risk of being sued I will not paste any more excerpts, even though I am itching to do so. Okay one more;
“Ugwu!” Master called. “Bring coke”
Ugwu walked into the sitting room, she smelt of coconuts.
Master didin’t say “Bring me a bottle of Coke“. or “Can you kindly get me some Coke?” He said “Bring Coke!” the way they do. And on it goes. Of course this may sound like the ramblings of an awe-struck fan, I urge you to read an excerpt here. After reading Half of a Yellow Sun I felt strangely confident to be all that I hope to be. I made the decision to do my utmost best in what I do, I must excel in every task and will even watch to make sure the words I speak are wholesome and beneficial to the listener. Reading Chimamanda’s books suggests she did not carry out the task of writing by halves. And neither will I. I may not be a writer (yet) but whatever it is I have been called and equipped to do, I will certainly do it with all my might. I must glorify the one who placed these gifts in me, I will make my Father proud.
Somethings you just can’t hide, like being pregnant. I first noticed I was struggling to fit into my clothes about four months ago. My jeans were noticeably tighter and I even dug out my old jeans that had previously “grown” too big for me, it fit. Blouses were tighter and my appetite soared and changed too. I started craving Alpen and yes more rice and fried plantain. No, I’m not pregnant.
I have finally started to put the weight on. I say finally because for most of my life I have wanted to be er..bigger (must be PC even on my own blog, gasp!) I have filled out nicely, my figure is comparable to a full-figured fifties’ model and I am loving it! You should have seen me at my favourite clothes store the other day proudly asking the assistant; “Do these come any larger?” I have now joined the ranks of those who say “Hmm.. that doesn’t fit” or “Does my bum look big in this?” Only I say “Hope my bum looks big in this”. Hubby calls me rolling Toks- as in they’ll need to start rolling me around since I won’t be able to walk. I love it. When I run into friends, I give them the 2 minute limit then ask if they noticed I was significantly larger (here it goes again). And that’s when my bubble gets popped. Some deny and say no, not really. Others go to such great lengths to remind me that it is absolutely fine. I have 4 children, I still look good, I have tried etc. That isn’t exactly the response I was hoping for. A simple “yes you have and it suits you” will suffice. I had one such conversation early this week with an older lady.
Her: You look very good for a mom of four, how did you lose the weight?
Me: Thanks. This is me after I put the weight on, I reply with pride.
Her: No, you’re not overweight.
Me: (Don’t you listen?) I know I’m not overweight, I’m just saying I have put on some weight in recent months, I love it.
Her: No, I still think you look good, don’t say that.
Me: (Slightly frustrated. She’s older so I can’t call her names) I KNOW I look good, I always wanted to put on weight and now that I have, I am happy.
Her: What are the age gaps between your kids?
I tell her
Her: So you had time to diet in between.
Needless to say I gave up at this point and went on to find my next target who will acknowledge to me how good I look with the extra fat I’m carrying.
When did it become a taboo to be shapely? I guess we owe our thanks to Twiggy who put having a woman’s body out of fashion for us chics. Ugh!
Plenty if you ask me. Hubby and I labored and prayed real hard for our sons’ names. We wanted them to have cool names. I think names have an effect on how you get on in life. It also determines who your friends will be. I went to Primary (elementary) school with a girl called Pinky. I don’t know if that was her real or nickname, but she was popular and a lot had to do with her name. I remember how everyone was happy to say her name without hesitation. My older brother was popular in primary school because he had the same first name as a well loved football star- and of course he has a great personality too. (He reads my blogs so I have to be careful).
My full name is Tokunbo (which is really an abbreviation of the full-full name). In the part of town I grew up it was uncommon. I wouldn’t say it was liked or not, it was just… uncommon. In some cases I had to say it twice for people to succesfully pronounce it nearly accurately. My surname on the other hand was pretty cool, however it was always spelt wrongly and confused with Ferrari- which happens to be my other car. Amen. So in no time people took to calling me Ferrari, Perreira, Perempe, Ferara and even Fregene. What was funny was how those “in the know” would confidently correct others who called me Ferrari or another name from the melange. Their correction? “It’s not Ferrari, that’s a car! Her name is Ferira”. Wrong again.
It would have been simple if my parents had named me a cool name like Alero. That’s my number one name. I love the way it is spelled- easy, love the sound of it and the fact that it begins with the first letter of the alphabet means an Alero has a higher chance of being the smartest kid in class. Seriously, a survey was conducted and the results suggested kids whose names begin with “A” tend to excel. Perhaps it’s because they were usually called first in the register. My first son is proof, so I’m sticking with that theory. I vowed to name my daughter Alero, even if it meant Hubby and I coming to blows about it. Alas, it was not to be, I don’t have a daughter.
Another name mom could have named me is Tolu. It sounds so cool, I mean literally cool like ice cream. To-lu. When pronounced properly it even sounds melodious. I am blessed to have a good friend called Tolu. And no, you didn’t become my friend because of your name. You are just a sweetheart and I love you!
Yet another name I would have been proud to be called is Buki. Short and sweet. Easy to spell and pronounce. When pronounced properly it suggests there is nothing more; “my name is Buki and that’s it”. Again I am blessed to have another darling of a friend called Buki. And since you probably never knew I loved your name, here’s proof that I love you for who you are.
There’s more, like Joke, another short and sweet name. It sounds cheerful and happy, just like my dear friend Joke. Always ready for a chat, always so encouraging. Love you Joke.
I’ll stop now, because this was meant to be a post about names and not friends, sparked by am email I received from another dear friend Bayo. Now I have never wished to have your name, because you’re a dude lol! But it is a lovely name and I’m glad we’re friends, hopefully we’ll see soon.
My post on Friendship will be looooooong. I’ll warn you before hand because you’ll need a snack and a drink. That’s when I’ll tell you all about Lara, and Shade and Iluobe (longest standing friend- 33 years and counting) Nneka and Tola and Abi and Bola and Yejide and Suzy and Funke and Ifeayinwa and Andrea and Kennie and Foluke and Bimbo and Tiwana and Tinuke and Mubo and Josh and Alex and Funmi and Folake and Tony and Tina…..Yes I really am that blessed.